A FORMER Bicester church minister faces up to 80 years in a United States jail after admitting multiple child sex abuse offences.

Robert Dando pleaded guilty at court in Fairfax, Virginia, to four counts of sexually molesting two young people over a period of several years.

The 46-year-old sexually abused boys between 1995 and 1999 from the ages of seven and eight.

Officials told Fairfax County Circuit Court that one of the victims said Dando molested him on 50 to 60 different occasions.

Dando will be sentenced on January 28, but was warned by Judge Robert Smith he faced up to a maximum sentence of 80 years.

He was also told he could be deported.

Dando was a minister with the Orchard Baptist Fellowship, which meets at Cooper School, Bicester, between 1995 and 2006, and a former governor at Bicester’s Kings Meadow School.

Dando, who most recently lived in Surrey, resigned from as a senior minister at Worcester Park Baptist Church in Surrey after he was arrested in the United States in July.

He was also removed from membership of the Boys’ Brigade in which his wife Janice is a vice-president.

In a statement, Bicester Orchard Baptist Fellowship said: “It was with a great sense of sadness that Orchard Baptist Fellowship received the new that Robert Dando has pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually molesting two boys when on visits to the USA.

“We are deeply saddened that someone in a position of trust could harm vulnerable children in such a way.

“We are seeking to support all those in the local area who knew Robert Dando as minister and have been affected by this news.”

The church said that if any allegations had been made in the UK it would have been immediately reported to police and social services.

Dando, who was also a former magistrate in Banbury between 2003 and 2008, was also understood to have been a member of the Oxfordshire Family Panel, which deals with child care and access proceedings.

Dando was arrested on July 23 this year after one of his victims, now aged 21, contacted police claiming he had been sexually abused between the age of eight and 13.

A police investigation discovered a second victim, now aged 17, who had been abused when he was about seven or eight.

In 2005, Mr Dando took up a position as executive assistant to David Coffey, who was then president of the Baptist World Alliance. Mr Coffey said Mr Dando’s role was voluntary and he had not been an employee of Mr Coffey or the BWA.

Dando’s role came to an end when he became a pastor at Worcester Park in 2007.

Dando’s wife Janice is one of four national vice-presidents of the Boys’ Brigade, a Christian youth organisation with more than 500,000 members in 60 countries.